Not everyone can order Acne.org products for whatever reason, so we have hand tested and created a list of drugstore alternatives that you can use with The Regimen.

WARNING: These products may not work as reliably or quickly as Acne.org products.

Guide to buying drugstore products

When choosing a cleanser

Be aware of irritating and comedogenic ingredients.

Avoid:

Look for:

Men:

Try using the lather from your cleanser as your shaving cream. You can choose either a foaming liquid cleanser (the best option) or a gentle bar (less expensive per use, but not as gentle).

From Dan: "The four adequate foaming cleansers I have found on most store shelves include:

  • Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash
  • Olay Foaming Face Wash (Sensitive)
  • Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (note: this is nearly identical to Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser and made by the same company, but is more expensive)

The four bars which which I have found safe to use are:

  • Basis Sensitive Skin Bar
  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar, Antibacterial
  • Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar"

Women:

Liquid cleansers are best. However, if you are on an extremely tight budget, a bar can be less expensive per use.

From Dan: "The six liquid cleansers I have found on most store shelves which seem to work well for most people include:

  • Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash
  • Olay Foaming Face Wash (Sensitive)
  • Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (note: this is nearly identical to Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser and made by the same company, but is more expensive)
  • Netrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Wash

The four bars which I have found safe to use are:

  • Basis Sensitive Skin Bar
  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar, Antibacterial
  • Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar"

When Choosing a 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide must be 2.5% strength.

Avoid:

Look for:

A note on prescription benzoyl peroxide:

Benzoyl peroxide may also be available over-the-counter at your HMO pharmacy. From Dan: "I used to be a member of Kaiser Permanente and they sold 2.5% benzoyl peroxide at their pharmacy."

If buying on store shelves:

When choosing a moisturizer

Be diligent when checking labels.

Without SPF:

Avoid:

  • Most oils with the exception of jojoba oil (which is actually an extremely welcome ingredient), macadamia nut oil, and mineral oil. Some other oils may be safe as well, but generally it's a good idea to avoid oils other than jojoba, macadamia nut and mineral oil.
  • Thick and greasy moisturizers. Moisturizers and creams that are too thick and greasy tend to clog pores. Plus, when a moisturizer is thick, it can be harder to apply gently.
  • Isopropyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Isostearate, Myristal Myristate, Laureth-4. See below for a complete list of ingredients to avoid.

Look for:

  • Moisturizers made specifically for the face.
  • The word "non-comedogenic" on the label.
  • Jojoba oil as an ingredient if possible.

If buying on store shelves:

It's very difficult to find a great moisturizer on store shelves. Some people find that these options work well for them:

  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. Takes care of flakiness well. However, it contains the combination of Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20 as the 3rd and 4th ingredient, which rates a 4 out of 5 for pore clogging in rabbit ear assays when this combination is used.
  • Complex 15. Contains Mysristyl Myristate, a highly comedogenic ingredient, but as the 12th ingredient. Requires jojoba oil with each use for full moisturization.
  • Lac-Hydrin Five. Contains AHA, so not for use at the onset of The Regimen. Wait 4 weeks before use.
  • Neutrogena Moisture Oil Free Formula, Combination Skin. Can tend to produce a "sweaty" feeling throughout the day, but uses safe ingredients.

With SPF:

Avoid:

  • Most sunscreens. Sunscreens are often by their very nature oily and greasy products.
  • Isopropyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Isostearate, Myristal Myristate, Laureth-4. See below for a complete list of ingredients to avoid.
  • I have not found any good SPFs other than Oil of Olay Classic Gentle Formula (see below), and Philosophy Hope Oil-Free SPF 30 for Normal to Oily Skin.

Look for:

From Dan: "The three SPFs which I have found that work well (and I have tried them all!) are:

  • Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 30 - In your palm, mix 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon into your usual non-SPF moisturizer, and apply.
  • Olay - Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - Sensitive. In your palm, mix with 5-6 drops of jojoba oil to increase moisturizing capabilities, and apply.
  • Philosophy Hope Oil-Free SPF 30 for Normal to Oily Skin. Nice feel, but must be mixed with a more powerful non-SPF moisturizer to handle dryness after benzoyl peroxide application. In your palm, mix 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon with your normal non-SPF moisturizer, and apply. For extra moisture, add 5-6 drops of jojoba oil. (Note: This SPF is quite expensive.)"

See acne.org/reviews for reviews from acne.org members of drugstore products. Keep in mind, however, that not all of the reviews are from people who are using the products while on The Regimen.

Comedogenic ingredients list

Comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients are rated from 0-5 with 5 being the most comedogenic. Below are the most offending ingredients with a rating of 3 and above.